Stories that were loved in your childhood will hold a very special place in your heart forever. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry was one of those books for me. Even more special is that this story is based on a real tradition that goes on even today – the Chincoteague Annual Pony Swim and its 93rd anniversary is happening this Wednesday – July 25, 2018. I have only visited this place in my imagination, and I think this is one of the wonders of enjoying a great story and learning about things through reading. And yes, I am one of those people who believe you should read the story before you see a movie. Call it the writer in me, but I really believe that all of our imaginations are meant to be pushed to visualize a story and hold that dear in your memory. If you see the movie first, you are seeing 1 persons interpretation of their idea of what it could be. My connection with the horse Misty is a special one to me. I was right along with her when she almost drowns in the pony swim because she is so young imagining her struggling until her human helper jumped in to assist. I know that my heart beat faster during that scene as I read it, then it did when I eventually watched the movie.
So this time each year I think again about this favorite book (and often I read it all over again!) around the time of the pony swim which takes place on the last Wednesday before the last Thursday of July and it always takes place during the slack tide (that is a 30 minute lull between low and high tides where there is no current). For those lucky enough to attend this year, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company announced that the Ponies will swim between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. this year. Here is a link to some of the vital information on this years swim if you would like to learn more or make plans http://www.chincoteague.com/pony_swim_guide.html
As a adult, with a passion for horses, I explore information about events to understand the animal welfare end of the things. If you are interested in learning more about the Saltwater Cowboys or what kind of screening they do, you can start with this video about the week of the event. http://www.chincoteague.com/ponyswimvideo.html
It’s also fascinating to learn more about the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company (CVFC) that works with the Virginia herd of wild ponies that graze on the southern part of Assateague Island. If you would like to learn more, you can visit their website http://cvfc3.com/.
If you love a book, consider that a launchpad to get you started on learning more about the subject. I’m still going to keep a trip to Chincoteague on my bucket list, but whether I make it there is person or not, I will continue to bring one of my favorite childhood books, Misty of Chincoteague, to life in ways that I can close to home.
What childhood book stretched your imagination and lead you on a path to learn more? And do you enjoy reading that book to this day? Happy reading!